2020, where do we begin? It’s be the most surreal year of our lives, and certainly one of the most challenging for students. However, amid the disruption and chaos the pandemic has caused, good news prevails! Here are 4 positive stories to come out of this year.
Captain Tom Moore raises £32 million for NHS charities
Capt. Tom Moore originally aimed to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. The World War 2 veteran went on to raise a staggering £32 million. He captured the hearts of our nation, so much so that he was even directly addressed by Prime minister, Boris Johnson. “Your heroic efforts have lifted the spirits of the entire nation, you’ve created a channel to enable millions to say a heartfelt thank you to the remarkable men and women in our NHS who have all been doing the most outstanding job.”
Marcus Rashford’s ambassador work for FareShare helps millions
“I’m by no means a politician,” said Marcus Rashford in a British Vogue interview earlier this year, “but I had a voice and a platform that could be used to at least ask the questions.” This year the Manchester United footballer and campaigner emerged as a prominent figure with regards to ending child poverty in the UK, so much so, that his efforts earnt him an MBE.
Rashford’s tireless campaigning towards ensuring all children have access to school meals has brought the best out of thousands of businesses, many of who joined together on social media to offer support after 322 UK politicians voted against Rashford’s request to extend the free school meal vouchers scheme for struggling families until Easter 2021.
In 2019, it was reported that 1.3 million children receive free school meals and it’s estimated 900,000 more have sought a free meal since lockdown, according to BBC News.
Girl, 11, reaches 7.1m keepy-uppy target for charity
Imogen Papworth-Heidel completed her challenge to reach 7.1 million keepy-uppies, one for every UK key worker, to raise money for a number of charities. She completed a total of 1,123,586 keepy-uppies during an unbroken 195-day run, reaching more than 7,000 a day during lockdown and the summer holidays.
The remaining 5,976,414 were donated by around 2,000 people who took videos of themselves joining in the challenge, and emailed them to Imogen’s parents. Among these people, the England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford.
USA set to re-join Paris Climate Agreement, shortly after withdrawing from it
Newly elected President Joe Biden recently tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.” In response to the USA withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Paris Agreement’s overall goal is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. America’s re-joining, and new outlook towards the agreement, could have a substantially positive effect on the organisations long-term aims.
Our accommodation in Newcastle, Roman House, is so good that you could be forgiven for opting to spend most of your time in the awesome common room playing some pool, working up a sweat in the on-site gym or chilling with your flatmates in the movie room rather than getting out and about to see the sights of The Toon. We’ll be venturing outside in the Easter break here’s what we’ve got on the to-do list…
Boiler Shop Steamer
Described as “industrial, urban & chic”, this unique space is just a few hundred yards from Roman House and regularly has music nights, exhibitions and one-offs. Boiler Shop claims to be different to other venues and it certainly is; expect this place to quickly become your go-to for things to do and a hub of cultural buzz.
Statistically, the average person’s three favourite C’s are coffee, cake and cats…combine all three and we’re happier than we ever could’ve imagined. The fantastically named CatPawCino and the fabulous Mog On The Tyne is where we’re planning to go on those days where you just miss your pets.
There’s nothing like a bit of sun to make you want to descend underground and enjoy a bit of darkness. We’re suckers for a spook and often find ourselves hankering after some history, and the Victoria Tunnel can provide both. Tours of the tunnel give an insight into wartime Newcastle, with recreations of air raid sirens and planes flying overhead. Worth noting that you also might pick-up the trivia that’s going to win the next pub quiz.
If you’re already a student in Newcastle or hoping to become one, take a look at our fantastic Roman House accommodation here.
Botanic Studios, our brand-new student accommodation in Belfast for 2017/18, is coming along very nicely – check out the latest photos of the show flat here. In the meantime, we’ve been putting together a checklist of what we’ve been recommended to do and see around the city…
Titanic Belfast – the first stop!
This impressive extravaganza of media and memorabilia occupies the space in which the Titanic was built, over one hundred years ago. We can’t wait to explore the replicas of the passenger accommodation and ride through the recreation of the city’s shipyard (apparently, it even smells authentic!). Will the “was there enough room for two on the raft” debate be solved? Probably not, but you never know.
Crumlin Road Gaol – just to lighten things up…
We’re a bit of a sucker for the supernatural, so we’ll surely be trying to get spooked by visiting one of Belfast’s grizzlier historic sites. The cramped cells of C-Wing and the chilling execution chamber make for a chastening experience; ‘The Crum’ is high on our to-do list.
St. George’s Market – variety is the spice of life.
Built in 1896, this is Ireland’s oldest operating market, but the live music and amazing food stalls on a Saturday make it sound like more of a party than you might first expect! We’re looking forward to flowers, fish, food, homely things and second hand thriftiness whilst enjoying the furore of this Belfast bonanza.
Cathedral Quarter– bar scene? Now we’re talking…
The place to see and be seen, Cathedral Quarter is home to some of the greatest establishments in the city; from traditional Irish pubs with live music to the quirkiest candle lit bars around. Special mention must be given to the Black Box venue, which always has something going on, from music to theatre to comedy to art. Basically, a guarantee of a good time!
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – is there a reward for crossing it or…?
Everybody knows that Ireland isn’t all about city living, so it’s time to head North and visit the Antrim Coast. Scenic coastlines and gorgeous driving routes make the journey alone worthwhile, let alone conquering the Carrick-a-Rede. It’ll be a definite movie moment when we Indiana Jones it across to the other side. There’s another way back, right?
Are you studying in Belfast this year? Take a look at our brand new, city-centre student accommodation here.
It is permanently drummed in to us that volunteering while at Uni is a great way to ‘boost your CV’ but does it really work or is it just a way to fill space on your CV to look more interesting to the person reading it? Well from personal experience, it has 100% helped me land the job as a graduate in the field I wanted. That said, you can’t just do any old volunteering and expect it do the trick – you need to carefully pick something that helps you demonstrate a quality you might not get to shout about though studying or part time work. So how do you find the right experience for you?
Part time Sabbatical Officer
Ok so these are a lot less glamorous than the full time equivalents, but they can do wonders for the CV however some universities might have restrictions on who can apply for some of the posts. They range from LGBT and disabilities officers to things like Community Engagement and departmental specific positions.
Great if you are looking to shout about – management, executive work, policy or business experience
Being part of a larger group can make it easier to do some volunteering, most universities have a RAG (Raise and Give) week where lots of society get involved doing all kinds of things for charity. Alternatively there are often societies for causes already established who spend the year fundraising for there cause.
Great if you are looking to shout about – humanitarian issues, fundraising, your fun side
If you play a sport can level up your involvement by becoming part of the executive team that help keep the team/sport going thought the year, from being in charge of the transport for matches, organising the finances to washing the team kits there are loads of positions available and people to supply you doing it.
Great if you are looking to shout about – teamwork, leadership, time management, fitness
Writing for your student paper can be a great way to get in to some cool places (I once got free tickets to a launch even that give me a free 3 piece tailored suit!) and meeting cool people, it can also be a great place to express views and creativity. Lots of universities also have Radio Stations and TV stations that are great to get involved with and loads of fun, its also a great way to show how confident (and charming) you are.
Great if you are looking to shout about – writing skills, copy writing, creativity, journalism, confidence
Academic Rep/ Course Rep
Always a staple in universities these reps can help shape your course and degree. They may not be taken very seriously by students but for the right subjects they can give a good indication about your dedication to the subject you study and the industry as a whole.
Great if you are looking to shout about – dedication to your subject, team work
Not in Uni
Travel the world
If you don’t think you can spend some time every week volunteering then maybe this is the answer for you. The down side is it often costs money to get the flights and visas sorted. There are some amazing opportunities from teach children to working with fluffy (and not so fluffy) animals! Check out https://www.gap360.com/ for more info!
Great if you are looking to shout about – traveling, humanitarian issues, environmental issues, adventure
Work with the elderly/young
Mentoring is always super rewarding, be that working with children in a school to help them realise their potential or helping the older generation with anything from their weekly shopping to getting online. There maybe some red tape to get thought before you can do this – but companies, schools and charities are always looking for students to get involved.
Great if you are looking to shout about – Your kindness, humanitarian issues, teaching/mentoring, heath care
Get busy with your Hands
Help redecorate a community hall, assist in teaching a free class, get involved in local art projects. If you want to show you can do something really different from your degree – maybe you have a skill or hobby you can share with people. Check out for literally thousands of different opportunities all over the country https://do-it.org/
Great if you are looking to shout about – your great attitude, humanitarian issues, pretty much anything
Another one that doesn’t take much time, but has some pretty sweet benefits is festival volunteering. Work two days as a carpark attendant and get free entry in to the rest of the music festival. Perfect if you want to do something awesome with your time but can’t afford the £££ for a ticket to a kick ass event.
Great if you are looking to shout about – er… not sure. But its still cool!
This has become a bit of a dirty work in recent years as students (rightly so!) push back against companies who basically want free work from someone. But if you find the right one they can be great, just make sure you are getting a fair deal and the experience is worth the time. University career services can help you find the perfect internship/placement.
Great if you are looking to shout about – your knowledge, experience in the workplace, dedication
Get down with your Nerd self
Library and Museums may not sound very glamours but they can provide some of the most interesting and rewarding opportunities. From doing tours, teaching kids to read, or even learning more about local history there are some really cool things hidden in museum storage. This is guarantied to make people look twice at your CV as it fools people in to thinking you are a proper grown up! (seriously from experience this one is gold)
Great if you are looking to shout about – wider interests, local issues, humanitarian issues, how well read you are
Do you have strong political views, maybe you just feel strongly about one issue. Either way volunteering within a political party can be really rewarding and help shape the future of the country!You don’t even have to volunteer with one party, you could help out at your local council offices.
Great if you are looking to shout about – politics, humanitarian issues, business
1. White telephone boxes. Hull is sticking it to the man and fighting the BT monopoly on telecoms by having its own telephone company, Kingston Communications they also provided internet services in the area too.
2. Phillip Larkin wrote his poetry in the university library, and Nick Cave made a song about it.
3. Everything is cheap. Ridiculously cheap, you are going to feel much richer than friends that went to other Unis!
4. In Pearson Park there’s an exotic Victorian bird house and they have a giant lizard there and you can go and see it for free.
5. William Wilberforce, leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade, is from Hull. (That’s pretty cool in itself, but as an added bonus there’s now a fantastic pub called ‘Ye Old Black Boy’ dedicated to him.)
6. It’s the only place in the UK where uttering the phrase ‘I’ll meet you at the Land of Green Ginger’ actually has some basis in reality, and no-one will assume you’ve been taking something.*
7. There are still ‘Rag & Bone’ men who wander around with a horse and cart, shouting incomprehensible nonsense and collecting old fridges.
8. There’s an overnight ferry to Amsterdam.
9. It is home to the world’s most bitterly disappointing fantastic dinosaur museum and the amazing Deep -which is Known as ‘the world’s only submarium’ and it has penguins, it’s definitely worth a trip!
10. It has loads of amazing independent pubs, bars, coffee shops and clubs.
11. Buses are amazingly cheap and frequent, you can get a bus to literally anywhere in hull in about 15 minutes, and everyone gets them.
12. The Welly is so awesome that one day over 1000 people queued up outside and they had to call in the riot police in to make sure it was all okay. (It was)
13. There are no hills. Unless you study at the Scarborough campus – in which case get your walking boots out!
14. It has a rich history, and is home to the last remaining civilian bomb ruin. Due to it’s industry and location, it was the second most bombed city in the UK after London, and lost about 95% of its housing.
15. We have a Premier League football club.
16. Chip spice, everyone should try it, trust us! Perfect for a post clubbing snack or any meal during the day.
We had a chat with one of our international students and asked her what she thought of moving and living in the UK.
Many people think that being an international student is cool: that everyone is automatically interested in your culture, cuisine and wants to be friends with you. But what happens when you come from a poor (and not very liked) country?
My name is Anna and I am from Romania. I am currently going into my third year, studying International Relations and Security Studies at University. Coming to the UK was not planned, my parents didn`t really have the means to support me here, so as most future students in Romania, my main choice of university was the medical school. Preparations, tutoring classes and exams were my main thoughts during my last year of high school. Until one day when I was presented with the option of studying abroad, in a country where I wouldn`t have to pay university fees.
After discussing this option with my parents, we decided to ask for the help of a consultant company. My dad called them, and after the first meeting, I knew everything it was to know about studying in the UK! I was accepted in all five universities I applied for, I made my choice and was on my way to University!
Soon after my summer holiday ended, I was on my flight to the UK (both my parents found jobs here in healthcare in order to support me in uni). The first day here was not particularly exciting, I got lost on the train from London, I had to change five times just to get here and when finally at the destination, I couldnt find the building I was going to live in. But despite my slow and unlucky start in this country, I found the people to be extremely polite, friendly and calm.
Of course, what baffled me at fist was the cultural difference between my country and UK, which is huge. Not only the people here are nicer, more polite, but they are also less ‘judgy’, more respectful and willing to help you when you need it. I remember that when I first came here, everyone was so friendly to me that I almost found it suspicious. Soon enough I also found their ‘weird’ side. The thing that confused me most was the fact that everyone calls everyone ‘love’. The first time I had an appointment with the bank to open an account, the adviser there called me ‘love’. All I could think was ‘ What is wrong with this guy?’ . They also tend to have a weird and different definition for the meals of the day. Some people say ‘tea’ instead of ‘dinner’ and ‘dinner’ instead of ‘lunch’. They also have words like ‘lad’ and ‘lass’ or they pronounce phrases like ‘me broley’ instead of ‘my umbrella’ .
To be honest, this is mostly a nice country with nice people, but there were of course times when, because I am Romanian, people automatically thought I was a gypsy or that I came here to claim benefits. And some of them look even more surprised when they find out that both my parents are living and working here as well. But, I guess that every basket has its rotten apples.
Overall, being an international student is excellent, you get to see the world from a different angle, you become more open- minded and you meet a lot of great people. It is an amazing experience, and despite the fact that I sometimes regret not becoming a life saver(doctor), I will never regret coming here.